Saturday, February 28, 2009
Anyway, how about a little writing to brighten things up?
February 27--William de Morgan, Earthenware tiles. Grace was drawn to the box of tiles shoved under a wobbly table at the back of the junk shop. She and Aaron were redoing their kitchen and she had stopped in to see if she could find some old door hardware to replace the shiny brass modern stuff they had. Then she noticed the tiles. They all had white backgrounds. that was good, plain white tiles were the cheapest so these would fit in. two of them had red designs, one a sunflower, the other was a big bird with a sea serpent in its talons. Odd but acceptable, Grace thought. The other seven tiles had more natural colors--blues, greens, yellows--but they looked like they were painted by one of the surrealists, maybe Dale. They looked like the second generation of irradiated plants with fantastic shapes and outrageous blooms. Grace loved them and when she discovered that they were one dollar apiece she loved them even more.
Off to get dressed to meet a knitting friend for tea.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Okay, writing. Here's Thursday's, written this morning while waiting for Don to drive off. (We're playing "Don's out of town" tonight.)
February 26--Raphael, Vision of a Knight. The knight lay on the ground, his horse nowhere in sight. He was flanked by two young women, one carried his sword and a Bible, the other a sprig of flowers. The knight was young and handsome in his polished armor and helmet. His clothes looked clean and new. He lay propped upon his shield painted bright red. The brunette woman on the left who held out the sword and Bible looked at him with lowered eyes and her dress was loose and modest. The blond on the right with her little stem of flowers looked at him with a frank gaze and her dress was fastened to emphasize her breasts and she had hiked up one side of her skirt to show her underskirt. She had her knee cocked provocatively as if ready to swing it over him. Both the brunette and the blonde's stomach bulged a bit as if they were in early pregnancy. The knight's eyes were downcast, the merest whisper of a smile playing on his lips, and his hands were loose and open, as if welcoming. But which one? Should he choose the good girl who would help him keep to god and his loyalty to king and country? Maybe he would choose the blond bad girl and live a life of pleasure without responsibility. "Joshua, time for school," his mom said as she passed his door. The dream knight and his ladies fled into the hubbub of teenage life as Josh showered, dressed, and caught the bus.
Today's writing later. You know I'll do it. It might even be good. Or interesting, which would be better still.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I could not resist finishing and felting my pencil holder experiment. Here are Before and After photos and I love the colors and the way the novelty yarn looks, but it's a bit too big around. The height's good but it's too wide. Once this one dries I'll take it to a dollar store and find a vase or jar to put in it. The Mason jar's not short enough. This was fun and planning more is even more fun. It's like a puzzle and I do love puzzles.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
February 25--Japanese School, Inro Cases. All children love small things, perhaps because they themselves are small in a big world. Sarah was no exception. She was enchanted by the six tiny boxes she found in Grandad's desk. Each one was smooth and painstakingly decorated and tied with a thin silk cord. Sarah touched them carefully one by one as she tried to make out the pictures on them. The boxes were black or gold with leaves or fruit, one had a church on it, and one had a scary man trapped behind gold bars. She leaned over to sniff them and thought they smelled spicy and minty and like a pine tree all at the same time. She was just about to untie one of the cords and look inside when the door opened and Grandad came in. He stood beside her with his hands on his hips and a frown-y smile on his face. "Sarah, what have you been up to?" he said. She was ashamed to be caught but curious. "I found these boxes, Grandad. Where did they come from?" He puffed out a big breath, then he lifted her up, sat in the desk chair, and settled her on his lap. He picked up the box with the man behind bars and slid what turned out to be a stack of tiny trays apart. "They're called Inro and Japanese men and women used to carry things in them because their clothes had no pockets." Sarah settled back on his chest and listened to his heart beat while he told her stories about the tiny Inro boxes.
I love the picture of the Inro. I want to touch them and see what's inside too. See you tomorrow night. If the weather's bad I may not make it to the poetry reading before writer's.
Well, it happens to me and I am powerless to resist no matter how strong my dedication to the "right" path is. That's what happened to me on Monday night.
In late January there was a pattern in the 2009 Knitting Calender for a Felted Hugger, which is a can keeper with an eyelash collar. I was drawn to it but don't really drink cold drinks in cans or bottles, so I made a note of the pattern date on the little card they give you just for that purpose and moved on. It has been shoving itself to the front of my brain, waving its arms and jumping up and down every time I look through a particular tote where I store my novelty yarns. The pattern shows a striped one so I've kind of been on the lookout for variegated wool. Then on Saturday I wore the sweater I knitted to work. It's made with Sensations Licorice which is 100% wool and variegated. Hmm, I have a lot of it left. I had already purchased another color of it. And it's on sale right now as is Sensations novelty yarns.
That means I can junk-pick vegetable cans from our recycling bin, wash them, and make pencil cups for my writing friends and my beautician for next Christmas. Brilliant! Naturally I'm having to adjust the pattern because it calls for worsted and I've got super bulky, but It's going well. Don't you think?
February 24--Kazimir Severinovich Malevich, Woman Cutting. Even in this northern place the late summer sun can be hot, can beat down on your head hot enough that you can almost feel your brain sizzle. The harvesting must be done. Someone has to walk down the rows, stooping and slashing, then lay the sheaf aside for the old man who drives the wagon to bundle it up and carry it away. By the end of the day your back and shoulders are so sore and stiff that you can barely straighten and unclench your grip from the wooden handle of the blade. If only someone has made supper, you can survive another day.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I rolled over my focus-on-my-writing cd last night. Arrrgh. It's one of those new age-y rainforest sounds with a little elevator music cds you can buy in displays in Kmart. I hope they still have those displays. I need another one. It's my turn to submit and I've got an idea, I just need to pry it out of my brain and flop it onto paper. That's what I was doing last night when I rolled my chair over to look at a journal entry, got to the end of the earbuds' wire, and pulled the cd player onto the floor, where it regurgitated my cd and I rolled over it. $%#@* (That's pretty much verbatim.)
Here's today's writing. I know you're waiting for it.
February 23--Ivan Semyonovich Kulikov, The Wedding Dress. She felt the weight of each layer from the gossamer silk of her underclothes to the thick embroidered satin of the outer layers. Each addition, each piece of gold embroidered trim felt like another stone chained to her flesh. The aunts, one her dead mother's sister and the other her father's sister-in-law, had driven hot needles into her earlobes and then shoved the heavy gold earrings into the holes. She had cried out with pain but the aunts scoffed at her. "You think this piercing hurts? Just you wait." She kept her eyes downcast as they draped her neck with chains until she felt like a puppy to be drowned. Finally her hair was gathered into a braid that was piled on her head, covered by a lace cap, which peeked out from the edges of the stiff embroidered silk and heavy gold wedding crown. The weight of it made her feel as if she would never again lift her face and smile.
Enjoy your day.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
But...I did start a new blog for my stamping business
Of course the George Washington party could have happened Barbara! Was this before or after the Cherry Tree incident?
Write About a Tattoo
Liz left the courthouse, divorce papers in hand and walked the two blocks to "Artrageous Ink" to celebrate. She had waited for this day to arrive; the day that would mark her freedom as well as her skin, announcing to the world that she was in control. It wasn't just the end of her marriage that she was celebrating, it was also the start of her life, a life she would live on her terms and nobody elses.
It wasn't that a tattoo was something she had wanted and had to have, in fact she had never even talked about a tattoo to anyone before. Hadn't even been inside a tattoo parlor prior to this day. But it was being told that, "No wife of mine will ever get a tattoo" that drove her to this decision. It was the icing on the cake that sealed the deal in her mind.
The man behind the counter at Artrageous Ink patiently waited as she filled out the necessary forms and disclaimers before showing her the countless images that could be created on her flesh. Liz smiled and shook her head. She knew what she wanted and where she wanted the tattoo to be displayed. The man lead her to the room where the artist was waiting, his neck and arms a walking mural of sorts.
Liz shrugged out of her jacket and reached into her purse for the piece of paper that held the design that she had created herself; for herself. The artist looked at the paper and smiled. "Left bicep?". Liz nodded silently, wanting to believe that this man was able to read her mind, but knowing her request probably wasn't the first.
Liz settled back into the chair and closed her eyes as the buzz from the tattoo gun filled the room. Within thirty minutes he was done and she looked down to see her design, a broken chain entwined with a wandering rose, the date of her divorce trailing along side the stem of the rose.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I'm getting this weekend's writing over with so I'm not staying up late tomorrow night to get it in, or writing on Monday and pretending I did it over the weekend. Not that I would ever do that. No, not me.
February 21 & 22--American School, George Washington on Horseback. "Happy birthday to you..." The gathered family and friends sang with gusto, not necessarily in unison and some closer to being in tune than others. He was tired of sitting through all the speeches and stories that people were determined to tell at times like this. It seemed to him that they got longer and more pointless every year. Can't they hurry up, he thought. My nuts are numb from sitting like this and the horse is drawing flies from the next county. I've lost all feeling in my right arm too. Why I couldn't just be wearing my damned hat I will never know. And it's hot in this monkey suit. Why couldn't I wear a comfortable pair of pants and just a shirt instead of these stupid satin breeches and a tail coat? "Happy birthday, dear George, happy birthday to you." Finally the singing ended and the Father of Our Country lowered his arm and slid off his horse, landing with only a tiny stagger. A groom came to lead the horse away and the president thanked him. He shifted his false teeth a bit and smiled at his family. "Let's have some cake." The adults laughed and the children cheered.
Not bad, if I do say so myself. It could have happened.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I enjoyed writer's last night, Jennifer.
February 20--Aristarkh Vasilievec Lentulov, Allegory of the Patriotic War of 1812.
Jansen spent hours and hours cutting tiny pieces of Fimo clay and arranging them in exactly the right places. He had special ordered the colors so that everything was right. He practiced kneading the Fimo so that it was soft enough to work with, supple enough to assume the shapes in his imagination. Each of the colors acted differently, some of them dried faster so he kept notes of which color to prepare first, which area of the design to start on. Finally he concluded that he had to make the piece in sections like a tiled plaque. He heart pounded and his pulse raced when he completed laying out the tiny cuts of clay in the first section. He reached for his rolling pin and carefully pushed it across the clay, melding and stretching the design. He was almost afraid to see what he had made but he stiffened his backbone and lifted the tool. There it lay in all its colorful disarray exactly as he had envisioned it. Only seven more segments to go.
It was hard to figure out what to write about this one.
I checked out the website and this looks like a very interesting weekend. Three of the agents seem like they'd represent my kind of book and I'm thinking of sending pages in for a critique (which costs extra, of course). I have a good feeling about this. Read about it and maybe one of you will want to come with me. I'm thinking I'll drive down Thursday evening to be ready to plunge in Friday morning.
--the Harry Potter books, by JK Rowling. Because every kid that age is convinced that the dorks they live with can't be their real parents.
--The Dark Is Rising series, by Susan Cooper. My kids read them in middle school, told me about them, and now I read them every year. A lovely quest.
--Griffin and Sabine, by Nick Bantock. All of Nick Bantock's books really, I just love what he does with stamps and loose feathers and other "junk."
--A Brief History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson. Lots of info in Bryson's conversational style.
--Amelia Peabody series, by Elizabeth Peters. I love Egyptian things and intrepid women, what could be better than Amelia's adventures written by an Egyptologist?
--The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, by Christopher Moore. This is the title that launched me into my love affair (from afar) with Christopher Moore. He writes with a degree of wackiness in a way that makes it seem oh so normal. I love every one of his books, but think The Island of the Sequined Love Nun is just so-so. Excellent title, though.
--Carl Hiiasen's books. I love his character, Skink, and Hiiasen's rabid love of keeping at least some of Florida undeveloped.
---Eyewitness Travel Guides. The best, most complete, most colorful travel guides I've found. Pricey, but worth it.
--Reef Set, by Paul Humann. A set of 3 books covering Reef Fish, Reef Creatures, and Corals that are excellent for identifying salt water fish and the reef structure. I'm geeky enough that I want to know the "pretty fish" I see on the reef by their proper names.
--Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck. I fell in love with Steinbeck while reading this and have never fallen out.
--The Settlement Cookbook. All the cookbook you need for baking and cooking and canning and preserving. My go-to book for almost all my cooking needs.
--A Writer's Book of Days, by Judy Reeves. A realistic how-to writers' book that espouses the idea that a writer shouldn't expect to be able to just sit down and write a masterpiece, that you have to build up your writing muscles through daily practice, just like an athlete, a musician, or an artist. The prompts are short, leaving plenty of room for creativity. I've been though the book's prompts at least 5 times and still find different things to write each time.
--Reader's Digest Great World Atlas. Has excellent political maps with maps of the ocean floor and the moon, lots of specialty maps and timelines. I look at maps and imagine the people who life there. I'm a map freak, I love 'em all.
--Secret Sea, by Burt Jones & Maureen Shimlock. Pretty pictures of tiny ocean critters. Almost like being there, but not quite.
--Audubon Field Guides, especially Birds, Fish, Insects, and The Night Sky. I can never have too many ID books so I can find the proper name of what I'm looking at.
--My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell. The true story of an English family living in Corfu in the 20s and 30s. Zany.
--The Oregon Files novels, by Clive Cussler et al. I'm a sucker for men's adventure novels and a longtime fan of Cussler because of the scuba diving his characters do. These books center on a group of mercanaries whose base is a rust-bucket cargo ship that sails the world righting wrongs. And they're not all he-men either, there are plenty of she-women too!
--Doc Ford series, by Randy Wayne White. More adventure novels, this time starring an ex-CIA spook who has retired to a sleepy Florida bay and opened a marine specimen supply business and his brilliant stoner friend. Smart and thoughtful books with some excitement thrown in.
--The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, by Kris Radish. One of the few "girly" books I've liked. It's a story of a group of women who go on a walk one night and don't stop. They silently walk the backroads of their county searching for answers in themselves and each other. Lovely writing.
--the Serge Storms novels, by Tim Dorsey. Oh, man, Serge is nuts. He's manic and a maniac about Florida history. He and his perpetually drunk and stoned pal, Coleman, drive around the state getting into mischief and murder. It doesn't make sense falling for the guy with the gun but I can't help myself. Everybody needs a bad boy in their life.
--Jimmy Buffet's books. They're not very literary but they sure are good to read in the dead of a Wisconsin winter when all I can see out the window is naked trees and snow drifts.
--Step Ball Change, by Jeanne Ray. Written in such a conversational style that the first time I read it I thought it was all in dialogue. I read and reread this when I was writing my latest novel manuscript (and the first one I think is about ready for publication) to try and replicate that familiarity with the reader. (I'll let you know if any agents or editors think I've succeeded.)
--Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening. Now that Grandma and Dad have passed away, I needed a good, basic gardening book with pictures and lots of info. This fills the bill.
--Peace Like A River, by Leif Enger. I found this book on a shelf in the bungalow we rent in Bonaire and picked it up because it was one of the few in English and not Dutch. I like the story and love the rhyming cowboy poetry by Swede, the 9-year-old sister of the main character. A tour de force of the genre. Reminded me of Saturday mornings watching Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, and Roy Rogers. Hi-oh, Silver! Away!
--The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico. My Aunt Barbara gave me this slender book when I turned 13 and the sad romantic story made me cry with its beauty. My first "grown-up" book.
--Sophie's World, by Josteen Gaarder. Translated from the author's native Norweigan, this book helped me understand a bit about philosophy and philosophers, which was especially helpful when my son was in college majoring in it.
--Chinese Astrology, by Suzanne White. Because I love to celebrate Chinese New Year which falls in the middle of the long and boring Wisconsin winter. Any excuse for a colorful party is tops in my book.
--Ocean, by Boyce Thorne-Miller. More gorgeous pictures of underwater scenes.
--the Spenser novels, by Robert B. Parker. I love Spenser's vocabulary and his attitude, and his relationship with Hawk and Susan.
--a good Dictionary. I have so many strewn about the house in all sorts of formats, straight dictionary, thesaurii, homonym/antonym, rhyming; you can never have enough reference books.
And that's it. If you make a list and put it on your blog, leave me a comment so I can come read it. I'm always looking for recommendations of things to read.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
February 19--Francois Boucher,The Painter in His Studio. People don't ever think that they look as old as they do, as they are. Consider today's painting. According to the artist's dates and the date (questioned, to be fair) he was 50-ish when he painted it. Now, does the guy in this painting look 50? No, he doesn't; he looks maybe 25. Look at that unlined face and the auburn hair untouched by gray, look at the plump hand (which, by the way, is too big for his body), it's not dried and stringy-looking like a 50-year-old's hand. I know this because I'm looking at my own hands which give my age away. Monsieur Boucher needed glasses.
Eh. Not inspired but it's done.
Damn, it's cold again and windy. Mmm, more winter.
I was too tired to post my writing last night so here it is. I'll do today's later.
February 18--Edouard Manet, The Fifer. He looked too young, too small and serious as he marched at the front of the honor guard. His small face so focused on playing the music, looking as if the notes were written in front of him. His lips were pursed as if for a kiss but his smooth cheeks betrayed his extreme youth and lack of opportunities. In his black and red uniform with its peaked cap, and exact replica of the men in ranks behind him, he looked as if he should be on top of a cake instead of marching to a military air down the Champs Elysee.
Not bad for a midnight attempt. See you later.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
February 16--Wassily Kandinsky, White Point. The jazz age was born and life changed down to its roots. The raw throb of the music shook society to the foundation and young men horrified their parents by dressing in suits with lapels like daggers. The girls bobbed their hair, unlaced their corsets, and hemlines rose to scandalous heights. Straight-laced society gradually relaxed into more sinuous lines and the colors of life grew more vivid. The sensuous lines of Art Deco and the syncopated rhythms of modern life grew out of the womb of jazz and the milk of that purely American music fed the hungers of the times.
February 17--Egyptian, Late Period, Cat with Gold Earring, the sacred representation of the goddess Bastet. Emmaline dragged her way up the broad steps and into the British Museum. It was her favorite place that never moved in London. Her most favorite place in London was any seat on the Tube but she thought that really wasn't so much a place as it was a state of mind. She had learned to knit last year in preparation for this visit so that she could spend a day sitting in a corner and knitting while she people-watched and rode around and around under the city. But enough about knitting. Emmaline shoved her needles and yarn into a pocket and prepared to revisit one of her favorite exhibits. She had seen the Elgin Marbles on her last visit and she still hadn't forgiven Lord Elgin for stealing them from the Greeks. She didn't feel up to looking at the disembodied heads or the decapitated bodies today. Today was an Egyptian day. Today she would immerse herself in the incredible capacity of the ancient Egyptians to embody their gods and goddesses in animal form. There was nothing like a moth-eaten cat mummy from the 5th Dynasty to send her mind spinning tales of sacred cats and beautiful queens. A perfect way to spend a drizzly London Tuesday.
There. That wasn't so bad. In fact, I like both of them but it's Emmaline that keeps drawing me in. I think I'll go dig up my journal and souvenirs from my London trip and wallow a bit. I promise to work on my homework tomorrow. Cross my heart.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Writer's won't be the same without you, Bob. I hope you decompress or find your muse or whatever it is you need to feel it's time to come back to us soon. Good luck!
February 14 & 15--Auguste Rodin, The Kiss. How perfectly predictable that this is the art for Valentine's weekend. Couldn't the editor have used a little imagination making a selection? There have to be a zillion pieces of art about love and lovers. Open your eyes, people, don't got for the obvious. My first thought looking at the sculpture is that I hope the models were showered and had cleaned their teeth recently. Romantic, huh? Oh, I marvel at Rodin's ability to make hard stone look like soft flesh too. I mean I'm not a complete philistine, but I want to know more about the making than the outcome.
Hope your Valentine's day went according to plan.
Well. I have to confess that my project-finishing drive was derailed this past week. I guess slotting in those 3 amigurumi animals for the Seibert girls wasn't such a good idea after all. I had the devil of a time getting back into my WIPs. In fact, here's all I accomplished on the fish afghan blocks and the Silk Road purse. Pitiful, isn't it?
I did make progress on the Socks X2. I have to knit 2 more inches and then begin the toe decreases.
As soon as they're done I'm casting on a pair using 4 or 5 different colors of Cascade 220 Tweed and a Kristin Nicholas pattern. That should fuel my creative fire. (I confess I'm thinking of using DPNs rather than the 2 at a time method. Changing needle tips all the time is annoying.)
I was so cold at work on Wednesday (neglected to put on longjohns) that I put on my thickest wool sweater and Anne's hat when I got home, and then cast on TWO shawls that evening. This one I'm calling the Spring Green Shawl; it's made out of Filatura di Crosa Multicolor from the stash and uses this Simple Yet Effective Shawl pattern I got off Ravelry. The holes will get bigger as I go because I started with US11, then I just switched to US13, and in about a foot or so I'll switch to US15. Depending how it looks I might even go as high as US 19, which is as high as my circular needle arsenal goes.
The other one is the Peruvian Shawl from the Winter 2008/09 Knit Simple Magazine and I'm using up all the Sensations Marvel (discontinued) from my stash no matter how short or long it ends up and I'm using all the colors as they pop out of the bag. (I did save another skein of cinnamon for the other end.) I console myself that at least I'm using stash yarn for both of them. (DD, if you'd like to contribute any you've got in your stash [it's what you made Dad's slippers from], I wouldn't refuse but I'm not desperate for it.)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
We will miss you Bob and hope you find your way back to us or find something that fills your soul.
Now, I can say, Ugh Barbara! Sinus crap is awful. And the art from yesterday didn't inspire me either...but no worries, you still are a brilliant writer!
Write About the Night Sky
When I lived in the country, the night sky was blacker than I could have ever imagined. Constellations were clearly visible and I would spend hours staring up at the sky picking out the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper and Orion, his belt being the key identifier. It's funny how there was a telescope in the house, but it was never used for viewing the night sky. Only when the television meteorologist announced some magnificent event that would take place in the night sky, only to be see again after our lifetime, would the telescope be dragged onto the deck. The telescope was just another toy in the quest for acquisition of the most toys before one dies. In a way, I guess I was just another acquisition, but that changed.
Now I live in the city and the night sky is diluted with the glow of lights from the street lamps. The stars have to be pretty brilliant in order to be seen, but I'm ok with that. I will often awake in the middle of the night and will turn toward my window, watching the snow gently falling, illuminated by the street lamp just outside my window. I watch the snow fall and a sense of calm washes over me bringing me back to sleep.
Perhaps it is the snow, perhaps it is exhaustion, but I know it is also the sense of knowing I am my own person and content with where I am in life.
***oh well...not that great, but it felt great working through the past and coming into the now.
Happy Valentine's Day to Jenny, Barbara, Bob and my Lurker (you know who you are! :) )
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thanks for the good writing night last night. I promise to do my homework before next Thursday.
February 13--Pahari School, The Beginning of Spring. When spring is near and pale green leaves make a halo around the branches, and buds swell and burst, I too want to shed my winter-drab garb and swath myself in bright colors. After the sharp cold wind of winter that slashed my lungs, I am eager to inhale the sweet, warm breezes of spring. Even the colors of my clothes--mustard yellow, pink, tangerine--feel like they are generating warmth too.
I managed 3 whole sentences. Big whoop. I'm going to hide behind the fact that it's Friday the 13th.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Today's art was so blah Barbara...you did well with what you were given with!
Write Your Morning
I awaken with the sun and to the smell of dark roast coffee brewing as if on cue. After settling back in bed with a steaming cup of coffee and the Sunday New York Times, I relax and catch up on the world. My cat joins me back in bed, licking her chops after feasting on salmon soft cat food, her purrs mirroring the content I feel at this very moment. If I could purr, I would.
Nothing to do, nowhere to go, just me, myself, the cat, the Times and I. They say if you can't stand your own company, then you are not fit company for others. On Sunday mornings, I like myself just fine.
My sinuses are trying to push my left eye out of its socket but that's nothing compared to Jenny's news. I feel almost... normal. Ye gods.
Thanks for the joke, Jennifer. I love it!
February 12--Odilon Redon, The Barque. In my dream the boat floated on a lake the same color as the sky. Only the tree trunk standin solid and firm at the water's edge had enough color to be real. Everything else beyond the tree floated in a colorless, formless mist. In the boat stood a man and woman no more solid than the mist, shades of travelers come before.
Well, that's it, kids, the sum total of my brilliance today. Maybe things will be better by writer's tonight. See you then!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
This is how my heart was broken
Angela skipped home from school, silently reciting the joke she had learned that day, lest she forget the words or God forbid, the punchline. Today's joke was a good one and she couldn't wait to try it out on her family at dinnertime. Racing into the house, she dumped her book bag on her bed, petted Scraps, the family dog, and headed into the kitchen to wash up and help her mom with dinner. Her mother handed her the potato peeler and pointed to the six spuds sitting in the sink. The two worked silently for a few minutes, Angela continuing to recite the joke to herself while her mother muttered under her breath. She wasn't saying anything in particular, just thinking through the many thoughts that cluttered her brain pushing for an escape route.
"Hey mom," Angela said, breaking the silence between them. "I learned a new joke today at school." "Oh really," her mother replied. "What is it?" The muttering under her breath continued.
"A blind man walks into a grocery store with his seeing eye dog. He stops in the middle of the store, picks up his dog by the tail and starts swinging him around in circles over his head. The store manager approaches him and asks, 'Sir, may I help you with something?' The blind man replied, 'No thanks, I'm just looking around.'" Angela laughed and smiled as she finished the joke. She was so proud that she had remembered all of it.
"Mmmhmm," her mother replied. There was no laughter. "Don't forget to cut the eyes out of those potatoes. The eyes are toxic, you know."
Angela continued to peel the potatoes, confused at her mother's response. She finished her chores and excused herself to start her homework. As she walked back to her bedroom, she felt a pain in her heart and only then did silent tears fall. She was a little girl who simply wanted to make people laugh, but the silence broke her heart.
The band was called The White Rose, and Sophie was the slut of the group. This carried onto the stage, where in numbers like "Chrystanthemum" and "Don't You Call Me Stupid," Sophie would prance around the stage playing the accordion with inappropriate body parts, and the men would go wild and the women's libbers would pound their fists into the air.
February 11--Boris Mikhailovich Kustdiev, Shrove-tide. Elena knelt on the floor staring at the gingerbread house nestled under Grandma's Christmas tree. Elena was six years old and fascinated by the tiny house. She expected the swirling white snow on the base, the trees, and the roof to be cold and to melt when she touched it but it was hard as stone and tasted sweet when she licked her finger. She loved the sleigh full of happy people pulled by a friendly brown horse and the colorful windows of the house with peppermint sticks for frames. But her favorite by far was the musician who stood in front of the house with his accordion. He wore a fur hat at a rakish angle, had a warm colorful woolen scarf around his neck over his dark purple knee-length coat and shiny black high boots. She knew that the music he played made everyone around him laugh and dance.
Eh, this is clunky and much blander than I imagined. But it'll do.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I carefully added the flour so it didn't explode all over the counter.
Next, Durwood weighed the water. (It's a very precise recipe.)
Mix the flour and water with the biga (yeast & flour made ahead) and salt. Knead until all the lumps are gone and the dough is elastic.
After a lot (3 hours) of "resting", punch it down, shape it, roll it in sesame seeds, and allow it to rest again. (Evidently this dough gets very tired.)
We baked each loaf in its turn on our new stone and flung hot water into the oven so it would steam and crisp the crust. Cool, huh? The loaves aren't uniform but DIL said I should say it's rustic, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I was patient and let the first loaf get semi-cool (okay, it was still warm, but not hot) before I cut it and sampled it. How'd it taste? Deeelicious. It seems extra holey so maybe there's a bit too much yeast or it needed to be kneaded a bit more, but all in all, I won't be feeding any of it to the birds.
Now for the Crochet Chaser: I finished Sammy's Elephant. I'm not sure I like the trunk but love the ears and tail. I'm sure Sammy will like it just fine. All the toys were a blast to crochet. I highly recommend them as a break from "serious" yarn crafting.
Look! More writing!
February 10--Titian, The Worship of Venus. Last night I dreamed of babies. Armloads of babies. Truckloads of babies. All naked and all boys. My dream babies played in a meadow of soft green grass dotted with pale violets and straw baskets of apples as rosy as the babies' dimpled flesh. My dream babies had curly hair of every color, rich brunette, russet, and gold. I smelled the sweet milkiness of their breath and the tart apples they ate. My babies were all happy as they tumbled and hugged each other, happy to be together, happy to be warm and fed. A few of my dream babies sprouted wings on their backs, tiny feathery wings too small to carry them into the sky, but big enough to tickle them and flutter as they played. None of my babies cried; one looked mischievous and one looked frightened, but not one of them cried.
Okay, I kind of like this but it sort of creeps me out too. This is more your thing, Jenny.
February 9--Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. In the glowing red magma that bursts out of the fissure in the earth familiar shapes can be seen. Sela sits up on the rim of the caldera in the tropical night away from the sulfurous smells carried out to sea by the breeze that blows its delicately scented breath on her back. Her eyes roam over the red and yellow flow until one area captures her attention. There must be a boulder there forcing the lava up out of the glowing orange stream, she thinks at first, but then she is certain that her eyes are playing tricks. As the upflow splits it makes an inverted V shape that undulates until she sees firm thigh and calf muscles flowing down strong legs. then the molten rock pinches to shape a waist bolstered by the strong legs and, thrusting upward, spreading through a ribcage to broad shoulders. Sela trembles and all sounds are forgotten but the sizzle and rumble from the lava tube. She watches in awe as the form grows from the bulges and splashes of the fiery lava thrusting up from the earth. As waves of the red hot lava flow across the broad back, a head begins to form, angular and rough, above the shoulders. The wind shifts, blowing rain over the lava flow and Sela's perch. She tugs a rain poncho on and sits in the downpour watching the lava man she saw being created turn to stone in a billow of steam.
I was feeling bad that I'm a day behind but I have to admit I don't think I'd have written this yesterday afternoon at work.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Jennifer, I totally love the fact that someone brought your grandmother's urn to the party. Keep the family together, that's a great motto! Nice writing too, a complete story arc in just a few words. Nice characterizations.
This wasn't a writing weekend for me. I had too much other stuff going on so I just skipped it. *gasp* I'll make it up today. In fact, it's so busy here at the dive shop that I wrote the weekend prompt this morning. Here it is in all its mediocre grandeur:
February 7 & 8--Hand Holbein the Younger, The Ambassadors. Such sumptuous robes they are wearing and how they must have reeked. You and I both know that personal hygiene wasn't in style in the 1500s. I would like to see that robe on the right-hand guy, though. It looks like silk and the brown and wine color of it is very rich and luxurious looking. I like that they have piled all their ambassador loot between them to show off the swag from their journeying. I'd like to pick through their loot, spin the globes, see the things that were gifted to them. I haven't got a clue what that thing is jutting up from the bottom of the frame but, judging by their expressions of cautious suspicion, they don't seem to like it. What an adventure they had. Now they're tired and they just want to go home and sleep, if only the painter would hurry up.
Not great but not bad. Maybe I'll have better luck with the Monday one.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Write About a River
His name was Ronnie and his heart was pure. This tall, lanky man thirty years my senior, was a bus boy at the truck stop where I worked summers during college. Always a smile on his face and a kind word to everyone, Ronnie never wanted for anything, because he was content what what he had; which was nothing. He never called me by my given name, always by Ginger, a name he picked out for me believing I was meant for a life more glamourous than that of a waitress. "I had a dream about you last night Ginger," he would tell me as we cleared off tables together. "You were sitting in a cocktail lounge with a long dress on, drinking a Manhatten. You looked just like Ginger Rogers." I would blush and smile at Ronnie; his dreams never concerned me because his heart was pure.
He doted on his Aunt Betty, a grouchy old woman who visited the truck stop at the same time each day, always by taxi. All of the other waitresses despised Betty as nothing was ever right with her order, but I didn't mind. I knew how to win Betty over by remembering how she liked her coffee as well as her toast, but I also treated her well because of Ronnie. It was the least I could do for this man who was kind to everyone.
Not everyone was kind to Ronnie, however. Waitresses would bark orders at him when times got busy or wouldn't give him the time of day when all he wanted to do was say hello. I appreciated everything that Ronnie did. During our Friday night fish frys, Ronnie not only bussed tables but covered the entire restaurant refilling coffee cups just so the waitresses could serve the perch and shrimp platters while they were still hot out of the fryer. At the end of the night, I would slip some of my tip money into Ronnie's shirt pocket as a way of saying thanks. Ronnie would smile, "Ginger, you are so good to me."
I was back at school, my Junior year, when I got the call. One of the short-order cooks at the truck stop called to tell me that Ronnie had died. The police had found his body along the banks of the river, his cause of death unknown. I cried for days not only for the loss of my friend, but also for the mystery of how he died and whether he had suffered. For such a kind, generous man, I told myself that he had simply gone down to the river banks to watch the birds and had simply slipped away. That weekend, during the show I hosted at the college radio station, I dedicated a song to Ronnie, "Fly to the Angels". It seemed fitting.
It has been twenty years since Ronnie died, yet whenever I pass the river banks where his life ended, or hear the song I dedicated to him, his smile still appears vivid in my mind.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
February 6, 2009--French School, Gideon and the Fleece. Bonnie stood looking at the painting. Allegory, that's what it must be, she thought. No one could walk, much less ride, with a halberd on a pole that long. She leaned across the dark green velvet rope to try to see more detail. The sheep, which looked more like a pig to her, was splayed on the ground and seemed to be crawling with fleas or mites or some kind of bugs. She squinted and it looked like the fleas or bugs were rising in a column up through a scrawny tree to an angel kneeling in the sky. Kneeling in the sky? Bonnie thought. Who painted this thing? Gideon looked more than a little stiff in his leather and bronze armor. Poor Gideon. Who'd believe him when he got to town that he saw and angel in the sky and a buggy sheep? They'd probably be too busy making fun of his long pole and girlish armor. Bonnie shook her head and moved on.
Now Bonnie's in a museum in France. The woman sure gets around, doesn't she?
Thursday, February 5, 2009
February 5--French Photographer, Portrait of a Photographer in the Studio of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. The dusty wood showed its age sitting squat in the corner of the cluttered shop. David had already passed it but Nell stopped to look at the curious piece of furniture. She bent to try to figure out what it was. There was a bracket on the wooden back and a hole cut in the top of the lower cabinet. "Madame has a good eye," said a voice behind her. She jumped a bit and turned smiling to see who had spoken, thinking it was David teasing her, but it was the tiny old man in a frayed gray sweater who had nodded at them when they entered. "Oh? I was trying to decide what it is." He excused himself and shuffled past her, then he lifted a dusty bottle out of a cardboard box on a chair and fitted it into the bracket. Now Nell could see that the bottle had a spigot on it. The old man settled a stopper with an eagle on it into the opening and slid a copper basin into the hole in the cabinet top. "It is a cabinet a salle de bains, Madame, popular in Paris in the late 19th century." Nell didn't know what to say. "Ah." The old man opened the lower cupboard door. "And here one finds a porcelain receptacle for nighttime emergencies." Nell saw his eyes twinkle in the shaft of dusty sunlight that made its way into their dim corner. "Handy," she said. "It is marked eight hundred dollars," he said, "I could let it go for five." She did like it, Nell thought. "It's not very practical," she said, turning away. "Four fifty?" he said. Nell shook her head. She said, "My husband is a very practical man and this piece has such limited use. Three hundred?" The proprietor sank onto the chair and put his hand on his heart. "You wound me. One exactly like it stood in the studio of Toulouse-Lautrec. I have seen photos." Nell shrugged, shook her head again, and turned to walk away. "You force me into it," the old man said, "three hundred, but you must take it today." Nell slid her hand in her pocket and pulled out three crisp hundred dollar bills. "I'll need a receipt."
Gotta run or I'll be late for work. See you later.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
As soon as I finished the Accidental Socks last weekend I felt free to allow myself to deviate from my rigid plan and immerse myself in a spot of making tiny crocheted toys. DS's best friend from school has 3 of the cutest little blond daughters on the planet and I think they deserve some handmade stuff to spit up on and drool on and generally get yucky. They might even get matching hats, if I can't help myself. I got the newborn Natalie's penguin done today. Isn't it the cutest? (Even though its wings look like ears.)
I put two stories out there yesterday and plan to do more this weekend so I'll be back to standing there in mostly-rejected-land soon, I'm sure.
February 4--Kazimir Severinovich Malevich, Woman with a Rake. She felt torn to pieces, pulled in too many directions. Dinah's life looked calm on the surface and all of her friends and acquaintances thought she had everything under control, but they were wrong. Ellie knew the truth. She had found Dinah sitting on her back step with a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes last summer, methodically working her way through both. As she sipped, holding the bottle in her fist, and smoked, lighting each one from the stub of the last, Dinah talked. Talked about the emptiness of her marriage to the paragon Paul and his affairs. Talked about her daughter's abortions and her son's dyslexia. When the bottle was nearly empty and the cigarettes burned up, Dinah stood up, took the rake leaning next to her, and proceeded to destroy each little shoot in her perfectly laid out garden while Ellie watched in silence. She surveyed her work and said, "I feel better."
Jennifer, I'm glad you liked yesterday's effort. You had a hard one and did a good job. That's one of my least favorite prompts from that book. See you Thursday. Even if you're very late, I'll wait.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
But...I was anxious to see what you were going to write Barbara as today's work of art was so complex. But you nailed it. It was all about energy and things flying at you in all directions! Nicely done!
These are the things women know about love...
We know the joy in life that comes from being in love.
We know the difference between love and being in love (and there is a big difference).
We know the difference between love and the idea of love (again BIG difference).
We know the strength that comes when someone you love believes in you.
We know that the words "I Love You" can make us smile.
We know that the love we see on television and in the movies is crap.
We know that we love chocolate...and shoes....and shoes.
We know that love can happen when we least expect it.
We know that sometimes in love, you do have to say you are sorry.
We know that in order to love, we must first love ourselves.
We know that....All You Need is Love....Love is all you need (That's for you Barbara!).
February 3--Jackson Pollock, Silver over Black, White, Yellow, and Red. Chaos. Colors fly at me out of a vanishing point, bombarding me with their wet, hot breath. Black and silver carry the rest, blaze the trail out of nothing into something. Fiery red pulses in the center as it flails my eyes and sears the air until there is nothing to breathe. No cool blues or greens to bring relief. Only the metallic lash of the silver as it bears down on me from a great height. The pseudo-friendly yellow shows its fangs as it skulks on the fringes, not brave enough to attack on its own. Power is what it is all about. Power lashing out of the universe to pin me in space and flog my senses with wind and heat and agression.
Well, I like that. Not so much a story but I like the mood.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Find Your Way in a City
"Get yourself a subway map and never let it go." Those were the words told to me by a woman who had moved recently to New York. "It's what everyone does; even people who have lived there for fifteen years."
I honestly thought that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard about such a great city. Get a map of the subway system? Are you serious? Sure, perhaps if you are determined to get from Point A to Point B in exactly so many minutes; but what a waste of a tree! New York is not a city to conquer; it is a city to be explored, slowly and sensuously, like a man exploring the body of his lover of fifteen years.
I want to get lost in New York. I want to navigate my way through the busy streets and avenues with a destination in mind, but with luck, will find a golden nugget that I never thought I would come upon, even in my wildest dreams. "Rule of thumb," a former New York police officer turned limo driver once told me, "when you see fewer people, turn around. There is a reason nobody is around." Smart man; after all, he would know. I want to always be romanced and enchanted by New York; even if it remains my love after fifteen years.
February 2--Paul Gauguin, Women of Tahiti, on the Beach. Neither of these girls looks happy. If I were sitting on a beach in Tahiti I'd be happy. I'd be grinning my fool head off, and I wouldn't be wearing a long-sleeved dress either. The girls (they're not women, Paul, not by a long shot) have their shoulders hunched and their faces downcast. They do not want to be there. Maybe old Paul Gauguin is being inappropriate behind his easel, making lewd suggestions, or even waving his willy at them. I am surprised that he has painted the sky and the ocean black. Is a storm coming? Maybe that's why the girls look so unhappy. I'd still like to be there to ask.
Eh. A little better. Gotta go to work. Bye.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Jennifer, I like both of the things you wrote and I really like how they are the opposite of each other. Keep going, it's worth it to get those writing muscles toned up.
January 31-February 1--Michelangelo Buonaroti, David. I can't take my eyes off him. He stands there in a shaft of sunlight that burnishes his skin to gold. My fingers itch to caress the pulse in his neck, to trace those sensuous lips with the barest touch of my fingertip. I want to rake my fingers through his tousled black curls and make him purr. His nose has a little bump in it like it has been broken once, maybe in a boyhood soccer game. You can see the self-assurance in his face as he stands the3re, unconcerned that so many eyes are on him. The tension in his muscles so firm beneath his skin makes me want to reach out and smooth my hand down his back and arms. I don't though, it's too public here. What would people think?
At least I wrote. Maybe I'll be more inspired tomorrow..
I also worked on the Silk Road purse but it kind of looks the same so I don't have a picture. I did knit on it, cross my heart. Two more inches and I can bind off section three.
I'm slacking off on knitting this weekend because I finally got fatally frustrated with my ancient laptop and took my stash money to Best Buy and bought me a brand new one. It's the first brand new computer I've had. We're still getting acquainted so please excuse any hitches in my giddyup.